Always check with your primary care physician before beginning this or any other diet or exercise program or any information contained herein.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The Ketogenic Diet is in essence three things: It is very low carb, very high (healthy) fat, and it is moderate protein.
It is really not a diet, but rather a healthy way of eating! A ketogenic diet is really just eating real food. You will often hear people refer to this way of eating as Keto. By consuming a diet rich in quality fats, adequate amounts of protein, and low in total carbohydrates you cause your body to switch fuel sources from burning sugar (unhealthy) to burning fat (healthy). The by-product of that fat burning is Ketones! This is where the term Keto comes from. The body’s metabolism begins to utilize fat as its main fuel source, rather than sugar. This shift has profound effects on metabolism not only for those who are sick and overweight, but also for those who are healthy and want to prevent chronic disease and optimize cognition (lose brain fog) and body composition (burn fat). In addition to these benefits this diet shows promise for improving and reversing many neurological conditions and metabolic disorders such as Epilepsy, Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetes, Insulin Resistance (Pre-Diabetes), High blood pressure, Fatty Liver Disease, and PCOS.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is the state of fat burning. It is the state of using fat as fuel, typically producing blood ketones (Betahydroxybuterate) at a rate of 0.5-5.0 mmol. Ketones develop as a result of fat oxidation supplying the body and the brain with this superb fuel! Think of it this way: Ketones are to fat what glucose is to carbs! This breakdown of fat into usable energy is similar to the process that dietary carbohydrates undergo when producing glucose to fuel the body. This is simply a better way to live! Ketosis transitions you from being a “sugar burner” to being a “fat burner”. Who doesn’t need that?
What Ketosis is not:
Ketosis is NOT Ketoacidosis. There seems to be a lot of confusion around this and surprisingly among medical professionals. Many people will tell you that this way of eating is dangerous (but it’s not). This is usually what they are referring to. They mistakenly think that Ketosis and Ketoacidosis are the same (but they’re not). Ketoacidosis is a state of uncontrolled ketone production and most often only occurs in Type 1 Diabetics. If you are a Type 1 diabetic please do not think that the Ketogenic Diet is off limits for you. It’s not! Your glucose will most likely be lower than it’s ever been. Ketoacidosis occurs only when BOTH glucose and ketones are high simultaneously. Ketone levels in excess of 15-25 mmol in the presence of high glucose is said to be Ketoacidosis. This does not happen in people with a functioning pancreas nor does it happen in the presence of low glucose!
Does it work?
Yes it works! Here’s why: In the presence of carbs (and sugar) we raise insulin and in the presence of insulin it is impossible to burn fat! INSULIN is your FAT STORING hormone. Sugar, carbs, and insulin inhibit weight loss and cause fat storage! Furthermore, overconsumption of protein can cause the body to convert protein amino acids into sugar (glucose) and store it as fat. The way the Ketogenic Diet works is by using FAT for FUEL. Both carbs and protein trigger insulin. Fat barely moves insulin which makes it an excellent fuel source not only for those wanting to lose weight, but also for those who simply desire to increase mental acuity and performance.
Is it safe?
Will it clog my arteries or give me heart disease?
Yes! The Ketogenic Diet is safe; and No! It won’t clog your arteries or give you heart disease. In fact, according to David Diamond PhD, “Saturated fat does not clog the arteries: Coronary heart disease is a chronic condition, the risk of which can be effectively reduced from healthy lifestyle interventions. We have known for 150 years that a high carbohydrate diet contributes to fat in the blood and contributes to obesity.”
He goes on to say, “the poor science that was used to support the idea that increased fat intake increases cholesterol and damages arteries" was authored by Ancel Keys who had no background in nutrition, but did have a BA in Economics and a PhD in Fish Physiology. Keys’ theory that fat in diet causes increased risk for high cholesterol and heart attack was based on extremely flawed science and “became dogma without ever being rigorously assessed.”
“A generation of citizens has grown up since the Diet/Heart Hypothesis (of Ancel Keys) was launched as official dogma. They have been led by the greatest scientific deception of our times: the notion that consumption of animal (saturated) fat causes heart disease." ~George Mann MD, Nutrition Today, 1985.
“The belief that atherosclerosis is due to high cholesterol has been perpetuated by powerful forces using tactics to preserve the profits and reputations of those who promote them.” Paul Rosch M.D, Scandinavian Cardiovascular Journal, 2008.
“The diet heart hypothesis is sustained by social, political and financial institutions which have little to do with science and established success in public health.” Uffe Ravnskov MD PhD, 2008.
(Adapted from The Charlie Foundation)
This ought to ease your mind:
Why should I do Keto?
The question is: Why wouldn’t you want to do it? The Ketogenic Lifestyle is the most effective way I know to rid yourself of excess pounds and to promote health. It is the only diet I know of that you can do without hunger. This is absolutely the easiest “diet” I have ever been on, not to mention the most satisfying. Again, I dislike the connotation that the word “diet” brings because it implies something that you do and then stop. There is absolutely no reason that I can think of as to why anyone would ever want to stop utilizing fat for fuel!
Once you lose the weight that you want to lose there are plenty~and I mean plenty~of substitutions for the foods we’ve come to know and love. I miss nothing about my SAD (Standard American Diet) lifestyle; and you won’t either! The benefits this preferred metabolic state offers is unparalleled. The Ketogenic Diet enhances the ability of the mitochondria, the power-house of our cells, to deliver energy to our bodies in a way that reduces inflammation and oxidative stress. By optimizing the way our bodies use energy we are literally protecting ourselves from much of the chronic disease prevalent in our society today. Who wouldn’t want to do that?
Is there anything else I should know?
Yes! Electrolytes are very important on the Ketogenic diet. Failure to pay attention to this piece of information could lend itself to some nasty side effects that can totally be avoided! Now that I have your attention here’s what you need to know:
Electrolytes are very important on a Ketogenic Diet!
Electrolytes are essential minerals that the body needs. There are three essential minerals that we need to pay close attention to on a Ketogenic Diet, Sodium, Potassium, and Magnesium. On high carb diets it’s necessary to cut back on the salt. This is due to the fact that carbohydrates, particularly refined and highly processed carbs cause increased insulin levels.
High levels of insulin cause the body to hold on to more fluid. On a well-formulated Ketogenic Diet you will find that you need more sodium due to the fact that a reduced carbohydrate intake causes a dramatic decrease in insulin levels. Although this is a good thing, it results in increased urine out put. This, in and of itself, is not a bad thing either; however, this increased fluid expulsion of urine can cause a depletion and/or imbalance of not only sodium, but other key electrolytes as well. If this happens it’s likely you will experience what is known as “Keto Flu."
What is Keto Flu and How do I avoid it?
"Keto Flu" is essentially two things: carb withdrawal and electrolyte imbalance. It’s not really the Flu, but it can feel like it. It generally occurs at the stage when the body is in the process of switching its fuel source. It is transitioning you from being a “sugar burner” to being a “fat burner.” That’s the good news! The bad news is that if you don’t replace your electrolytes, "Keto Flu" can last for an indefinite period of time. The most common "Keto Flu" symptoms are headaches, dizziness, nausea, cramping, diarrhea, muscle soreness, irritability, fatigue, lack of mental focus, and difficulty falling asleep. You might also hear your heartbeat in your ear.
You can avoid "Keto Flu" by paying close attention to the recommended daily allowances of electrolytes outlined below. Problem solved! You're welcome!!
How do I get my Electrolytes In?
Keto Revolution Keto-Aid:
2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (22 mg of potassium)
1 tablespoon of real lemon juice (about a half of lemon) 1 carb
1 scoop of Berg’s Electrolyte powder* (1000 mg of potassium)
2 Scoop of Magnesium powder (400 mg of magnesium)
1 teaspoon of Morton’ salt substitute (2760 mg of potassium)
16.9-32.0 oz. or more of Water (I like the 30 oz.)
Combine these ingredients into a fabulous electrolyte drink.
Berg Electrolyte Powder is optional. If you are are avoiding sugar
substitutes do not use this. Simply leave it out and add fresh lemon and lime.
In addition, eat:
1 medium avocado daily (708 mg of potassium)
3 oz. romaine lettuce (210 mg of potassium)
1 teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt daily
Then~simply drink water to thirst the remainder of the day to stay hydrated. By following the
recommendations above you will meet your electrolyte requirements for the Ketogenic Diet and
A word of caution:
*This item contains Stevia and may cause additional Insulin stimulation. To lessen any potential effects, I recommend having it only with a meal. If you are Diabetic, Insulin Resistant, or trying to lose weight
eliminating all sugar substitutes is preferred. Any sweet stimulation to the tongue can create an Insulin
What are Macros?
Macros is short for MACROnutrients. Macronutrients are nutrients in our food that have caloric value. In other words, the basic breakdown of the food we eat. There are three macronutrients, fat, protein, and carbs, and they differ in many ways, namely, their caloric density per gram, as well as how the body uses them. Fat is the most calorically dense macronutrient, having 9 calories per gram, compared to 4 calories per gram each in both carbs and protein.
The body uses fat and/or carbs for energy production, while it uses a moderate level protein to rebuild the cells of our body. We need much less of this protein macronutrient than you might think. Many have found that over-consumption prompts the body to break down the excess protein into glucose, preventing and/or disrupting the homeostatic state of Ketosis. Macros tend to be the most confusing part of navigating the Ketogenic Diet for
To take the guess work out of it and to give you a basis for starting, I have included the graphic below. This is intended as a general guideline. Want exact macros? Click here for our Macro Evaluation service.
How do I start?
There are two ways to make this dynamic metabolic shift from sugar burning to fat burning.
Adopting a very low carb, high fat, moderate protein diet will result in nutritional ketosis. It generally takes 2-3 weeks to achieve this preferred metabolic state. Begin by eliminating all sugars from the diet and lowering your carbohydrates to 20 grams total or below. You will find that this pretty much eliminates all boxed foods, canned foods, and pre-packaged foods.
What do I eat then? I’m glad you asked. Real food. Eat Real food~not processed convenience foods. If you have not opted in for our Keto Quick-Start Guide, you can do so here. It contains a list of all the foods you want to eat on a well-formulated Ketogenic Diet. I’ve also included "The Top 5 Ingredients You Should Never Consume".
Next, concentrate on adding high healthy fats to your diet. You will want 75% of your diet to come from fats.
There are two reasons for this:
Fat is the primary driver in satiety~that means it’s what keeps you full.
When you are lowering carbohydrates and moderating protein, it becomes necessary to fulfill the rest of your caloric needs from something~and that leaves fat. Eating fat also trains your body to burn fat. Think of it as your metabolic work-out!
Finally, you want to moderate the protein. If you have followed the steps above this should take care of most of the difficulty people find in doing this. If you are eating the proper amount of fat you will find it very difficult to overeat on protein. If you are having a problem with this then the answer is EAT MORE FAT!
If you’re in a hurry and want to shift into this metabolic state faster then fasting is your answer. Although I don’t recommend this as the way to actually start a Ketogenic Diet, unless it’s for therapeutic purposes such as managing Epilepsy, it is a safe, effective, quick and easy way to get in to Ketosis.
Fasting is the total cessation of caloric intake. It is the total restriction of macronutrients.
Increase your water intake during this time to avoid dehydration.
A little black coffee is permissible if it helps you to get through this period.
For the average person a 48-hour fast is enough to get you into Ketosis.
Still don't know what to do?
If you’re still not sure what to do, or you’re just looking for some help, our Coaching Services are designed around the principles we’ve outlined here with a focus on individualization, including exact macro calculation to ensure your diet delivers optimal health and therapeutic results guaranteeing your weight loss success!
You’ll get ideal macronutrient ratios set specifically for your body type, weekly reviews of every single food diary to pinpoint issues before you waste week or a month doing it the wrong way, pantry-sweeps to remove ingredients that could halt your progress, Vitamin analysis and recommendations, and so much more. I’ll teach you the top 5 ingredients you should never consume and why and provide the support and accountability you need to simply rock this way of eating!
Why waste months trying to figure it all out? Opt-in for a month or two of coaching. Let me teach you Ketogenic Diet from start to finish. There’s absolutely no greater investment than your health. Why not make sure you’re doing this right?